Yakhni – the yummy Kashmiri mutton dish

The Kashmiri non-vegetarian cuisine is rich and varied. The choice of meat is mostly mutton, and there are several dishes that can be prepared from it. The art of cooking Kashmiri food has been perfected over centuries, and mutton has always had the pride of place in the cuisine.

Mutton Yakhni is a popular dish prepared on special occasions. Yakhni has a wonderful aroma of spices; it is made with curd and minus chilli powder. The word ‘yakhni’ refers to the saffron and curd-based mutton broth that forms the base of most gravies, shorbas and pulaos. This curry is thick and flavourful and goes very well with rice, pulao or biryani. But it is best had with plain steamed rice.

Ingredients (Serves five)

500 gm chopped mutton

5 green cardamom

1-inch cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons milk

350 gm curd

3 cloves

1 teaspoon dried ginger powder

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

2 red chillies

150 gm ghee

2 pinches saffron


Wash and clean the mutton and keep it aside.

Heat ghee in a pan. Add bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, clove and the whole red chillies and cook on low flame till the spices begin to crackle. Add the red chillies towards the end otherwise they will turn black.

Add mutton, turmeric and salt, and saute it for 5-7 minutes on a medium flame. Reduce the flame and cook covered till the mutton softens. You can add a little water if you feel the need.

Whip the curd well and add it to the mutton. Ensure that the mutton is uncovered and the flame is at the lowest. Now powder the fennel, mix it with dry ginger powder and add it to the mutton.

Cook till the mixture thickens. Dissolve saffron in milk and add it to the mutton. Stir for 2-3 minutes, remove from the fire and serve hot.



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